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December, 2011

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  • The SharePoint 2010 Handbook – Guest Article by MVP John Timney

    clip_image001John can be described as a creative, proactive and quality orientated Security Cleared, ITIL 3 Certified Management and IT Professional.  He is a veteran MVP and a former Microsoft MSDN “Regional Director”  which demonstrates a respected technical background. He is co-author of several books including “Professional Microsoft .NET Windows Forms”, “Professional .NET for Java Developers Using C#”, “Professional JSP” and “Beginning JSP Web Development”.  John is an enthusiastic, technically diverse, well informed and forward thinking IT specialist with a very credible market reputation.

    The following article is a great blow-by-blow overview of several key areas relating to SharePoint 2010, providing solid grounds on which develop your knowledge of the solution.

    There is a new must have book coming out soon called "The SharePoint 2010 Handbook". Its about as close as you can get to the real world delivery of a SharePoint 2010 platform and covers topics that many other books are dedicated to covering yet in a very succinct way.

    The book ensures that the information you will most likely need is there to help you understand what aspects of SharePoint are important, without leading you down into the technical depths of areas you would be better placed to seek from a dedicated book about that subject.

    The chapters have been composed by some of the worlds leading authorities on SharePoint 2010 and you will certainly recognise many of the authors names. What is refreshing is that the editors sought out some entirely new authors who have contributed their recent experiences from a newcomer’s perspective.

    The chapters have been carefully selected and complied from real world experiences drawn from the most demanding and successful implementations of SharePoint to date. Some of the chapters are modified from sessions that have been delivered at some of the worlds leading SharePoint conferences and have been chosen because they were such successful conference sessions and transposed well to a book chapter.

    I'll cover each chapter here with a brief synopsis, and in no specific order given the book is yet to be published. Keeps your eyes open for information on this, the chapter contents really are quite unique and will be equally useful to IT Pro and Dev audiences alike, both new and experienced.

    The Art Of SharePoint Success

    Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies have been in the market for ten years the fourth version, SharePoint 2010, was released in November 2009. There is no doubt that SharePoint is a phenomenal success: It is Microsoft’s fastest selling server based product ever and has generated approaching two billion dollars in sales revenue for Microsoft. The only other Microsoft Server products to generate this level of revenue are SQL Server and Exchange Server, and SharePoint has reached this milestone more quickly than the others.

    There have been over one hundred million SharePoint licenses have been sold worldwide and I.T. industry analysts such as Forrester Research and Gartner rank SharePoint as a leader in a number of different technology markets including Search, Enterprise Content Management, Social Computing, Collaboration, Information Access and Horizontal Portals.

    SharePoint will be at the heart of Microsoft’s information worker strategy for many years to come. Yet despite its market success many organisations seem to struggle to realise the full value from investments in SharePoint products and technologies. In 2010 AIIM survey found that forty seven percent of organisations that have deployed SharePoint use it primarily as a file share. In May 2011 research commissioned by Fujitsu shows that SharePoint is the most common collaboration tool used by UK businesses, Ninety two per cent of Enterprise organisations using collaboration technology use SharePoint. But the research also shows that on average only sixty percent of SharePoint sites are considered active, and forty percent of IT managers don’t believe that the collaboration platform is driving cost savings.

    This chapter first explores the challenges facing organisations investing in SharePoint based initiatives, and then presents a framework for success consisting of four elements; Governance, Strategy, Transition, and Architecture. Governance relates to defining the accountability for the ensuring a return on the investment in SharePoint. Strategy discusses how SharePoint relates to organisational objectives. Transition considers the challenges of organisational change and user adoption and Architecture relates to the way that SharePoint is deployed to the business as a set of distinct but inter-related services.

    SharePoint Governance

    Governance relates to the process and plans used to define expectations, grant power, and verify performance. SharePoint Governance describes the specific plans and procedures for managing your SharePoint environment.

    SharePoint’s widespread adoption, broad capabilities, ease of use, and multiple deployment and hosting options have made it easy for anyone to get started using SharePoint. It’s this same flexibility that can also make SharePoint difficult to effectively manage. In order to optimize the use and growth of SharePoint, your SharePoint Governance Plan should be used to define expectations, grant and restrict rights, as well as maintain and verify usage and performance.

    Due to vast differences in SharePoint environments, a SharePoint Governance Plan should be adapted to your specific environment, regardless of how simple or complex your environment is. This chapter will serve as a guidebook outlining processes for the administration, maintenance, and support of your SharePoint solution.

    There are three primary goals of this chapter: To provide a recommended structure for a SharePoint Governing Board responsible for governing and supporting the SharePoint solution. To provide recommended governing policies and procedures of the SharePoint environment within three distinct areas (IT Governance, Application Governance, and Information Governance) and to provide a recommended user adoption and training strategy for the people using and maintaining SharePoint.

    Structuring a SharePoint 2010 Practice

    SharePoint 2010 is simply put, nothing like SharePoint 2007! It is vastly more scalable, significantly more complex, and hugely appealing as an information management hub. A consequence of the successful re-architecture of the product to such a strategic hub product and the core of the Microsoft tools strategy is that programmes and projects, and consequently employers and recruiters need to think carefully about the new range of planning roles and skill sets required to satisfy a successful end to end delivery of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will show the reader how (and equally as important why) to correctly structure a SharePoint Practice or programme of delivery to plan for internal career progression and assist with staff retention and to identify and exploit the correct roles to staff modern demanding SharePoint 2010 delivery programmes.

    SharePoint Security and Authentication Notes

    SharePoint 2010 provides different options for authentication of users as well as authentication to external line-of-business systems. During the design and implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, the chosen authentication method could impact or restrict the availability of some SharePoint functionality and the options for interacting with external systems.

    This chapter will discuss the different options and architectural considerations for user authentication and for authenticating to external systems. It will cover classic mode authentication and claims based authentication. It will cover NTLM, Kerberos, Clear Text Authentication, Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims Providers, the Claims to Windows Token Service and the Secure Store Service Application. It will also give a brief overview of options for exposing

    SharePoint 2010 sites securely across the Internet, such as using Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, and the implications of doing this and how to ensure the security of business data exposed using SharePoint.

    The chapter will provide information on configuring and troubleshooting the authentication options such as Kerberos, Clear Text and Forms Based Authentication, the differences between the SharePoint 2010 FBA implementation and ASP.Net forms authentication and the implications for interoperability between SharePoint and ASP.net applications. It will also provide information on the limitations of certain functionality (such as search based alerts and the people picker) for Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims providers.

    SharePoint User Adoption

    There is a common misconception that merely installing SharePoint makes for a successful implementation. It is how the people in the company effectively adopt the solution that is the true measure of success. Have you asked yourself how you will get people to use the solution?

    Anyone can cope when there is only one table booked in a restaurant; but what happens when you are booked to capacity with a waiting list - are you geared to cope with that demand? What if you get no bookings at all? Could you explain to your investors why no-one is visiting?

    SharePoint user adoption is about how to get to a full house, how to be prepared for the rush, and how to manage it once it happens. People will not magically adopt SharePoint, there are measures you need to put into place to ensure that happens. If this is done correctly, you will have a very high adoption rate and consequently good return on investment for the capital outlay of the infrastructure.

    This chapter will cover what you need to do in order to achieve that.

    Social Networking and SharePoint

    The word ‘Social’ has become a very popular term over the last couple of years. Everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These so-called Social sites attract (hundreds) millions of visitors per day! So how does this translate to SharePoint 2010? What Social features are available? Social features were also available (albeit limitedly) in the previous version Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007).

    The main feature was the My Site. This site is a personal page for every user within a SharePoint Intranet portal. The user was able to provide valuable information for colleagues, such as a mobile number, e-mail address, manager or skills. Other users were able to use the MOSS 2007 search engine to find a colleague with the skill ‘Writing marketing material’, for example. By using these features, users were able to connect and share information with each other.

    This has been improved in SharePoint 2010 and loads of new features are now available. This chapter describes these features, and how they can improve the collaboration within your organisation. Talking points covered include My Sites, Tags and Notes, Ratings and Social Search. Most importantly, the author addresses how they are all connected and what advantages they provide for companies.

    Business Intelligence Solutions with SharePoint 2010

    In this chapter we will explore the variety of tools available in SharePoint 2010 to provide business intelligence to your business users. We will examine the pros and cons of each tool along the way, and look at a couple of methods of building a powerful dashboard from the items we construct.

    Creating dashboards and drill downs using Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint Designer, Filter Web Parts and Reporting Technologies.

    This chapter covers the creation of dashboards and drill downs utilising SharePoint Designer 2010, Business Connectivity Services, Secure Store Service, Business Data Catalog Permissions & Actions. It demonstrates Filtering Web Parts & Connections to List Web Parts and explores Excel Services.

    The chapter will be a guide to using SharePoint Designer 2010 to connect to SQL Server data sources with External Content Types. It will discuss the rationale for using the Secure Store Service and the Business Data Catalog.

    It does this by utilising a real world Customer Information Portal scenario for a Products & Service Company. The company has a requirement to bring together information from various disparate systems within the network to aid a number of departments.

    Branding for beginners

    This chapter looks at the considerations you need to make as a SharePoint Brander in a small business environment where you may be the only SharePoint "expert" in your organisation. We will take an example and go from OOTB to a custom design with little effort.

    Configuring the Search Refinement Panel

    The Search Refinement Panel is one of the most powerful, yet misunderstood, Web Parts in SharePoint 2010. Appearing on every search results page this Web Part can be easily customized to provide tremendous business value from small to large enterprises.

    Exploring different options for implementing customisations

    An important decision to make while planning the implementation of any SharePoint solution is how exactly it should be created. Two commonly used options are leveraging the out of the box available functionality through customization in the browser and development of solutions using custom code.

    SharePoint’s out of the box functionality empowers end users to create simple solutions with little effort and in a short time frame, however with a limited customization scope. Development of custom code solutions provides the most flexibility, however at a higher cost in terms of complexity and resource requirements. Another option is to extend the standard SharePoint functionality with customizations that make use of JavaScript and the Data View Web Part.

    Using JavaScript has become a very popular way of extending SharePoint without having to rely on custom code. It allows users with some basic development knowledge to create their own more advanced solutions easily.

    Considering all these possibilities, when evaluating the correct course to take for a solution implementation, organizations need to take into account the pros and cons of the different approaches, and weigh them against each other.

    This chapter will compare these approaches with each other and describe the capabilities, as well as the benefits and the drawbacks of each approach, allowing a decision maker to better understand which method is useful in which situation and choose the best option.

    SharePoint Test Environment

    Test environments for most IT professionals are a no-brainer -- major system changes should be tested once, twice, even three times to provide the best possible experience to end users with little to no interruption in service. Recent virtualization technologies have made this easier than ever; one only needs to spin-up a new instance of a virtual machine and off they go with an entire SharePoint environment at their disposal.

    SharePoint administrators will painfully learn, however, that this testing model doesn’t adapt well to the componentized structure underlying a well-built SharePoint system. This chapter will make the case for building and maintaining a fully-scaled test environment that is architecturally similar to an organization’s production environment.

    It will support this recommendation with lessons learned from the authors personal experience administering a small SharePoint farm. This case can be argued further to include more than one test environment. If an organization chooses to develop solutions for SharePoint they should consider building in one environment, certifying the build in another test environment, and then implementing the solution in the production environment.

    Using one or more fully-scaled test environments is the only way to understand the implications of a major system change. They also provide a mechanism for rehearsing these system changes. With such a tool at their disposal, SharePoint administrators can maintain and administer their systems with confidence.

    InfoPath 2010 - What's new?

    This chapter is dedicated to exploring the capabilities of InfoPath 2010. What can InfoPath can do for you? What are the key improvements to InfoPath 2010 and the impact on form design and development.

    InfoPath 2010 has interesting license implications and this deserves some attention. The chapter also discusses key concept and building blocks of InfoPath Forms (such as rules, data connection, design template and data validation) using scenario based solution. The chapter also demonstrates how to write c# code for control and form events.

    InfoPath is an agile/rapid design tool for creating forms. InfoPath is intricately linked with SharePoint so it would be ideal if you know the basics of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will give you a solid foundation for people new to SharePoint and will allow more advanced users to see what is new in InfoPath 2010.

    The chapter ends by discussing potential issues and what users might be expecting from Microsoft for the next release.

    SharePoint Server-based Data Storage and Data Access

    This chapter guides readers through the basic storage and data access options available in SharePoint 2010 application development projects. The matching of application business requirements with the appropriate storage and data access technique is vital for achieving a successful project.

    SharePoint 2010 Automated Code Deployment

    During the past several years SharePoint has quickly become one of the leading collaboration technologies. Businesses today are taking the SharePoint framework from the development labs into mission critical production environments which require application high availability. This chapter will describe methods and concepts which will ensure you will be able to build and deploy custom code into Intranet and/or Internet facing production farm(s) using Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010. Further, a description of the concepts and tools necessary to ensure code consistency throughout the development lifecycle will be included.

    SharePoint Internet facing sites often have additional requirements, network bottlenecks, and limited downtime constraints which make deploying code from the development arena through QA/staging, and finally into production SharePoint farms more restrictive. The new capabilities provided in Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010 make this process much easier than before.

    This chapter will provide examples for all flavours of deployments (timerjobs, page layouts, webparts, etc.) so you don’t have to learn as you go! You’ll get an in-depth look at how these tools can help you successfully deploy code into production SharePoint 2010 farms.

    SharePoint Workspace 2010 – extending the SharePoint collaboration platform

    SharePoint Workspace 2010 (SPW 2010) offers a multiple-featured and versatile collaboration platform - sharing folders (like Dropbox), 'offline' & mobile SharePoint client that can sync back to the central SharePoint servers and peer-to-peer collaborative (Groove) workspaces without centralized servers (like Napster).

    This chapter will explore the features of SPW 2010 - the 'Swiss-Army' of collaboration platform, how it integrates to SharePoint servers and how applications are built and used productively for collaboration. The chapter will illustrate some examples how SPW can be used in business scenarios and how it was used in other situations –Katrina & Tsunami disaster relief efforts.

    SharePoint Workspace has several application building capabilities - Web Services, tool add-ins, InfoPath Forms and integrating with SharePoint Server using Business Connectivity Services (BCS). All these can enrich the SharePoint collaborative platform data with mobile and external applications.

    Useful SharePoint Links

    Sharepoint 2010 Product Site

    SharePoint TechCenter on TechNet

    TechNet Forums

    Microsoft Support

    SharePoint 2010 Learning Plan

     

  • What’s your Top Tech of 2011?

    Here at TechNet HQ we’re beginning to wind down for the holiday season, and whilst browsing around the interwebs I’ve come across a new article by Rory Cellan-Jones on the BBC Website about the importance that Technology has had to play in major events this year. He touches on some really interesting subjects, including the state of the UK’s broadband and mobile infrastructure as well as Silicon Roundabout in East London and a £15 computer.

    This got me wondering about my personal Technology highlight of the past 12 months and almost instantly my mind turned to social media, as it does far too often! In particular, the way that Twitter has taken off this year is of great interest. Its use to add a communication ‘back-channel’ as an interactive dimension to a number of more traditional mediums such as Television and print has provided much interesting reading.

    Incidentally, TechNet UK now has a renamed Twitter channel, come and check out what we’re up to @TechNetUK! What is your Top Tech from 2011? Give us a Tweet or let us know in the comments!

    On behalf of the whole team past and present, thanks for reading the Blog this year. Here’s hoping you have an enjoyable last few weeks of 2011 and we’ll see you on the other side!

  • Introducing Simon May – #simonmay, #geek, #itpro

    As some of you may have noticed we’ve been doing a few introductions to the team, some of which have been new people and others you have probably seen presenting or have read some of their content. We started the series by interviewing Dan Pilling then it was my turn… Yesterday we introduced Alex Guy and this time I’ve managed to track down Simon May!

    I cornered Simon with my trusty video camera armed with my 10 questions! The idea here was to let you get to know the people as well as what they present. After all this will mean you don’t always have to talk servers and systems with these guys when catching up after an event!

    See how Simon May responds to our 10 Questions!

    If there’s something about the team or working at Microsoft that you would like to know then feel free to leave a comment on the blog and we’ll do our best to provide that insight into Microsoft.

  • Event: SQLBits 10 – The Official UK SQL Server 2012 Technical Launch Event

    SQLBits, the UK’s SQL Server technical conference and the second largest SQL Server conference in the world, is undoubtedly the place to be if you’re keen to improve your SQL Server knowledge and find out what’s new in SQL Server 2012!

    Over nine previous conferences since 2007, SQLBits has gained a reputation as the event for SQL Server professionals in the UK: almost 800 people attended each of the two previous conferences. It now attracts the leading SQL Server experts from around the world as speakers as well as senior members of the SQL Server development team from Redmond; in Brighton last year the guest of honour was none other than Steve Wozniak, founder of Apple and tech industry legend.

    SQLBits 10 will be taking place at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith, London on the 29th-31st March 2012, and will also be the official launch event for SQL Server 2012 in the UK. Here’s what will be happening on each of the three days:

    Thursday 29th March will be a training day, featuring a number of day-long preconference seminars delivered by well-known SQL Server trainers such as Adam Machanic, Kevin Kline, Denny Cherry and Stacia Misner. You can see a full list of what’s on offer here.

    Friday 30th March will be a conference day featuring hour-long sessions delivered by the best speakers from the SQL Server community

    Saturday 31st March will be the traditional SQLBits community conference day, with a wide range of sessions covering all aspects of SQL Server at all abilities.

    The agenda for Friday and Saturday will be published in early 2012. Full details on booking and pricing can be found here, but the important thing to remember is that the Saturday conference day is free to attend!

    To find out more about what’s happening at SQLBits and to register, go to http://www.sqlbits.com/

    We hope to see you in London!

  • Introducing Andrew Fryer: Creative, Eccentric, Trustworthy

    Just when you thought you had met everyone on the TechNet UK team we bring you another blog post! This one’s another video one at that!  The final member of our team is Andrew and we caught him at the TechNet IT Pro Camp and asked him our 10 questions. I do wonder what would happen if we had a psychologist analyse the answers to our questions! I’m sure there are more insights than appear on the surface.

    Many of you have probably already seen Andrew present at numerous TechNet UK events across the country but this video provides some fun insights into the person behind those presentations! See him empty out his pockets and reveal who he was inspired by when he was younger!

    Find out how Andrew answered our 10 questions!

    If you would like to find out about the rest of the team then just click on the links below:

    Dan Pilling

    Sarah Lamb

    Alex Guy

    Simon May

    Do say hi to the team and follow us on Twitter! We love hearing from you and finding out what is catching your interest!

  • Introducing Alex Guy: Glastonbury, Techie, Microsoft-Convert

    Alex Guy

    1. What is your name and where do you come from? (Imagine this being said Cilla Black – Blind Date Style!)

    Alex, originally from Chessington (Yes, where the World of Adventures is)!

    2. How would you describe yourself using 3 tags?

    Glastonbury, Techie, Microsoft-Convert

    3. What is your favourite gadget?

    After thinking long and hard, it’s probably my home PC. Sure it’s not as portable as my shiny smartphone, but when it breaks I can take it apart and fix it!

    4. What would we find if we asked you to empty out your pockets?

    Not a lot I’m afraid – being a student I don’t have very deep pockets! Just the usual phone, keys and wallet.

    5. If you were on a desert island what 3 items would you take with you?

    My tent, a good bottle of something strong and my phone, although I don’t get any signal in the office so I doubt it would be much use on an island.

    6. What was your first Microsoft product and what is your favourite current product?

    My first Microsoft product was Windows 95. My current favourite has to be Windows Phone 7 Mango, the interface is miles ahead of anything else on the market. Having used a HTC Mozart at work for the past few months I can’t help but feel my personal phone is missing something whenever I try and multitask on it now.

    7. What did you want to do when you were little?

    For reasons that are beyond me I wanted to be a Fireman. I’m certainly going to have to get down the gym if I ever want to fulfil that aspiration.

    8. How many pets do you have/ or had and what were their names?

    In total I have/have had about 7 pets – Jess, Spencer and Steve (Yes you read that correctly, Steve) who are/were all moggies. Smidge and Smudge the Rabbits and two Guinea Pigs whose names escape me.

    9. What are you looking forward to in technology?

    Really looking forward to the increasing competition in the consumer product space and all the great innovations that are bound to result from all sides.

    10. What was your most embarrassing tech moment?

    Just getting into home networking many moons ago and asking my long-suffering Mum to invest in a new PC. I thought I’d be able to configure it as what I thought was a ‘Server’ and that this would in turn, somehow, make our broadband connection faster. Who knows.

  • Save Sam – The Final Winners and Videos

    Save Sam Banner

    Congratulations, after 20 brilliant videos and thousands of views, your great tips have successfully helped to save Sam’s job and convince her bosses to deploy Windows 7, starting now!

    Along the way you’ve won loads of awesome prizes too, congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who submitted a video. Here’s all of our winning responses, including the 6th and final winner LG3UK who provided some great Business Value tips (although we’d like to have seen a Windows Phone!)

    Also massive congratulations to JangidUK, whose Security video below achieved the highest number of views – a staggering 27,388 and counting! There’s a 3D TV and 3D Camcorder on it’s way to you.

    Check out all the tips below and be sure to visit the Windows 7 TechCentre for more information about the points raised.

    JangidUK - Security - Overall Winner, Most Views

    thelongclimb - Ease of Use

    yachtinglimited - Compatibility

    TechieGirls - Security

    JangidUK - Deployment

    pauliddon - Manageability

    LG3UK - Productivity & Business Value

  • Event: Transforming IT with Microsoft Private Cloud

    Cloud services certainly feel like a hot topic everywhere at the moment with a range of feelings being voiced on the topic. The definition, business value, and technology benefits of the "the cloud" have been one of the core topics that have been hotly debated in recent months. Most agree that cloud computing can accelerate innovation, reduce costs, and increase business agility in the market which is a great place to start the conversation.

    In 2012, cloud computing will transition from hype and discussion, to part of every enterprise's reality, and IT is uniquely positioned to lead this transformation and help business reap the benefits of cloud computing.

    To help you get real-world answers, We would like to invite you to an interactive virtual event designed to help you explore your cloud options. Plus, you'll be among the first to hear the latest private cloud news from Microsoft.


    Transforming IT with Microsoft Private Cloud
    Tuesday 17 January 2012
    16:30-18:30 (UK Time)

    > Register Now

    Here's what is planned for the event:

    • Hear from other senior IT professionals about how cloud computing can help you gain maximum competitive advantage with minimal risk.
    • Learn about Microsoft cloud offerings, including private, public, and hybrid cloud models.
    • Experience Microsoft private cloud solutions through the Microsoft Technology Centre.

    Be sure to forward this invitation to your IT leadership team and those that you think would find this of interest. I hope you can join us in this interactive discussion.

    Microsoft
    Executive Panelists:

    clip_image001

    Satya Nadella
    President, Server and Tools Business, Microsoft



    clip_image002

    Brad Anderson
    Corporate Vice President, Management and Security Division, Microsoft

     

    clip_image003Jacky Wright
    Vice President, IT Strategic Services, Microsoft IT

    > Register Now

  • The week that was on the UK TechNet Blog: 11 - 17 Dec

    This week has had a bit of a cloud and community theme with content about Windows Azure training in the New Year and the wrap up of the IT Pro Camp.  It was great to meet some of the IT Pro’s in person, for me it was the first time I met many of you.  I’m looking forward to meeting more of you in the New Year as well!

    We have plenty of content to keep you going into the New Year! Look out for the rest of the introductions to the team including some video’s!  Also you may have noticed we’ve updated our Twitter account name to @TechNetUK – it’s much easier to remember and gives you more characters to tweet us with!

    • Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012

      My Christmas card for 2011 is inspired by a frequent visitor to my back garden the Goldcrest .  The trick to seeing them is to resist the temptation to tidy up and dead head too much, whereas that’s exactly the sort of thing you should be thinking ...read more